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Teacher Unions and the Productivity of Public Schools


  • Randall W. Eberts
  • Joe A. Stone


Do teacher unions affect the productivity of public schools? The authors examine this question using individual student data from the Sustaining Effects Survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Holding resources constant and using achievement gains on standardized tests as the measure of output, they find that union districts are seven percent more productive for average students. For the minority of students who are significantly above or below average, however, nonunion districts are more productive by about the same margin, apparently because teacher unions reduce the use of specialized instructional techniques. This result is consistent with the view that unions tend to standardize the workplace. Across all students, the average union productivity advantage is three percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Randall W. Eberts & Joe A. Stone, 1987. "Teacher Unions and the Productivity of Public Schools," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(3), pages 354-363, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:40:y:1987:i:3:p:354-363

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